Waterford councillor Marc Ó Cathasaigh
Concerns have emerged about the future of the National Biodiversity Data Centre due to lack of clarity around the renewal of staff contracts for 2020.
The agency, which is based out of WIT’s Carriganore Campus, is a national centre for the collection and analysis of data on Ireland’s biological diversity.
Green Party councillor for Tramore and Waterford City West, Marc Ó Cathasaigh, has called on the Government to secure the long term funding needs of the centre.
“Having the National Biodiversity Data Centre based locally is a rare good news story for Waterford. These are a group of extremely dedicated and highly qualified people doing exceptional work on a shoestring budget.
"The centre appears to be working hand-to-mouth, with persistent doubt over its ongoing funding by the State at a time when information on biodiversity is more vital than ever.
"Our Dáil declared a climate and biodiversity emergency earlier this year. These are existential challenges that need to be tackled head-on, but good evidence-based policy relies on good data, which is exactly what the National Biodiversity Data Centre provides.
"It is simply unacceptable in our view that the staff at the centre have three months left in their contracts with no certainty as to whether they can continue their vital work into 2020. At a time when Greta Thunberg is calling on global governments to follow the science on climate change and biodiversity loss, the very scientific agency who are providing us with vital evidence and leading citizen science movements across the country is itself threatened with extinction," he concluded.